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Protecting the county’s liquid assets

DEC: Pollutants keep some bodies of water from supporting appropriate uses

Chris McKelvey, of Rotterdam, sets out on Collins Lake with his 8-year-old son, Connor, on Tuesday, Aug. 16. Connor had received a new kayak for his birthday on Friday, Aug. 12, said Chris, and he wanted to get out on the lake and try it out.

Chris McKelvey, of Rotterdam, sets out on Collins Lake with his 8-year-old son, Connor, on Tuesday, Aug. 16. Connor had received a new kayak for his birthday on Friday, Aug. 12, said Chris, and he wanted to get out on the lake and try it out. Photo by John Purcell.

— Kastberg said the water is sampled regularly through the Department of Health to ensure it is safe for swimming. The lake cleaning included hydraulic dredging to increase water depth by one meter to reduce exotic plan growth, but the DEC also noted this as a pollution source. Also, Kastberg said, storm water going into the lake was diverted years ago and an aeration system was installed three years ago to constantly turn the water over so it doesn’t settle at the bottom. The number of geese has been reduced to around 25 per year, he said, instead of the previous 250.

“It takes a partnership between all levels of government and private citizens to address the many causes of nonpoint sources of pollution,” said Georgeson.

Other impaired waterbodies

The two other impaired lakes, Duane Lake and Mariaville Lake, have troubles similar to those at Collins Lake, with increased phosphorus entering the water. Again, nonpoint pollution sources are cited as the main culprits.

Recreational uses at Duane Lake are considered by the DEC to be impaired due to aquatic weed and algal growth and low water transparency. The DEC report on the lake was revised in April 2008. Previous assessments claimed failing or inadequate on-site septic systems serving lakeshore homes as a factor. The phosphorus levels in the lake, according the report based on 2006 sampling, was consistently exceeding state phosphorus guidelines.

While public bathing isn’t impaired at Duane Lake, at Mariaville Lake it is because of high nutrient loads, excessive aquatic weed growth, occasional algal blooms and reduced water clarity, according a DEC report.

The water at Mariaville Lake was tested through the DEC’s Citizen Statewide Lake Assessment Program beginning in 2002 to the present. The DEC said from the data collected through the program, phosphorus levels in the lake typically exceeded state guidelines and transparency measurements have occasionally failed to meet the recommended minimum requirements for swimming.

In 2006, lakeshore homes were put into sewer district, said DEC, so onsite impacts are no longer considered a significant source.

To view DEC Mohawk River Basin Waterbody Inventory and Priority Waterbodies List Report visit www.dec.ny.gov.

In next week’s Spotlight, this series will look at air quality and energy in the county.

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